33 Funny and Meaningful Sherlock Quotes

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Sherlock Holmes is one of the most famous and enduring characters from literary history. Since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle first published The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes back in the late 1800s, Sherlock’s wisecracks, razor-sharp wit, and incredible attention to detail have made him and his sidekick Watson household names.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote four full length novels and  56 short stories based on his famous character Sherlock, and since then, there have been countless adaptations, including the recent smash hit BBC series starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Below are 33 of my all-time favorite funny and meaningful quotes from the original Sherlock stories, along with a few from modern adaptations too. 

1. What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence. The question is what can you make people believe you have done.

― Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet

2. Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself; but talent instantly recognizes genius.

― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Valley of Fear

3. My mind,” he said, “rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. I can dispense then with artificial stimulants. But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation. That is why I have chosen my own particular profession, or rather created it, for I am the only one in the world.

― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four

4. You have a grand gift for silence, Watson. It makes you quite invaluable as a companion.

― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Complete Sherlock Holmes

5. There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.

― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Boscombe Valley Mystery – a Sherlock Holmes Short Story

6. Education never ends, Watson. It is a series of lessons, with the greatest for the last.

― Arthur Conan Doyle, His Last Bow

7. “Excellent!” I cried. “Elementary,” said he.

― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Complete Sherlock Holmes

8. From the first day I met her, she was the only woman to me. Every day of that voyage I loved her more, and many a time since have I kneeled down in the darkness of the night watch and kissed the deck of that ship because I knew her dear feet had trod it. She was never engaged to me. She treated me as fairly as ever a woman treated a man. I have no complaint to make. It was all love on my side, and all good comradeship and friendship on hers. When we parted she was a free woman, but I could never again be a free man.

― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Return of Sherlock Holmes

9. Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really mere commonplaces of existence. If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, hover over this great city, gently remove the roofs, and and peep in at the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the plannings, the cross-purposes, the wonderful chains of events, working through generations, and leading to the most outre results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable.

― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

10. It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but that you are a conductor of light. Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it.

― Arthur Conan Doyle

11. I am a brain, Watson. The rest of me is a mere appendix.

― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone

12. The game is afoot.

― Arthur Conan Doyle, Adventure of the Abbey Grange

13. How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?

― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four

14. Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?’

‘To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.’

‘The dog did nothing in the night-time.’

‘That was the curious incident,’ remarked Sherlock Holmes.

― Arthur Conan Doyle, Silver Blaze

15. My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people do not know.

— Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

16. Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is upon the logic rather than upon the crime that you should dwell.

― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

17. When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?

— Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four

18. Do you remember what Darwin says about music? He claims that the power of producing and appreciating it existed among the human race long before the power of speech was arrived at. Perhaps that is why we are so subtly influenced by it. There are vague memories in our souls of those misty centuries when the world was in its childhood.’

One’s ideas must be as broad as Nature if they are to interpret Nature,’ he answered.

That’s a rather broad idea,’ I remarked.

― Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet

19. A man always finds it hard to realize that he may have finally lost a woman’s love, however badly he may have treated her.

― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Musgrave Ritual

20. It was worth a wound — it was worth many wounds — to know the depth of loyalty and love which lay behind that cold mask. The clear, hard eyes were dimmed for a moment, and the firm lips were shaking. For the one and only time I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain. All my years of humble but single-minded service culminated in that moment of revelation.

― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

21. Dear God. What is it like in your funny little brains? It must be so boring.

— From the Sherlock BBC Series (Benedict Cumberbatch)

22. I am somewhat exhausted; I wonder how a battery feels when it pours electricity into a non-conductor?

― Arthur Conan Doyle , The Adventure of the Dying Detective

23. No man burdens his mind with small matters unless he has some very good reason for doing so.

― Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet

24. I am the most incurably lazy devil that ever stood in shoe leather.

― Arthur Conan Doyle

25. Oh, hell! What does that matter?! So we go around the sun! If we went around the moon or round and round the garden like a teddy bear, it wouldn’t make any difference! All that matters to me is the work! Without that, my brain rots. Put that in your blog — or better still, stop inflicting your opinions on the world!

— From the Sherlock BBC series (spoken by Benedict Cumberbatch)

26. There is nothing more to be said or to be done tonight, so hand me over my violin and let us try to forget for half an hour the miserable weather and the still more miserable ways of our fellowmen.

― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Five Orange Pips

27. A good detective knows that every task, every interaction, no matter how seemingly banal, has the potential to contain multitudes.

— From the Elementary CBS Series (Jonny Lee Miller)

28. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.

— Arthur Conan Doyle, A Scandal in Bohemia

29. I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation. That is why I have chosen my own particular profession, or rather created it, for I am the only one in the world.

— Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of the Four

30. Watson. Come at once if convenient. If inconvenient, come all the same.

— Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Creeping Man

31. To a great mind, nothing is little.

— Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet

32. How sweet the morning air is! See how that one little cloud floats like a pink feather from some gigantic flamingo. Now the red rim of the sun pushes itself over the London cloud-bank. It shines on a good many folk, but on none, I dare bet, who are on a stranger errand than you and I. How small we feel with our petty ambitions and strivings in the presence of the great elemental forces of Nature!

― Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume I

33. You see, but you do not observe.

— Arthur Conan Doyle, A Scandal in Bohemia

Conclusion

I love these wise, witty, funny, and meaningful quotes taken from the original Sherlock Holmes books and subsequent adaptations. Did I miss any of your favorites? Let me know in the comments below. 

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